Sunday, June 27, 2010

Update

I am Back! It's been a long week as my parents left a week ago and now we are heavily breeding cows at the ranch. We have 150 cows/heifers to AI with 40 head completed so far. I've got an update on Gary's band: Here is Rosie....the one mare that was missing from Gary's group last Monday. I found her a few days later and she had a colt on her side. I got to name this foal and chose "Teton" which means prairie dweller. This years theme is cowboy and Native American names. We had some weather this past week too with over an inch and a half of rain, lots of lightning and loud thunder. My colts are doing well. I rode Cache 3 days in the park last week and what a difference it makes when you can ride those little boogers multiple long days in a row. JJ has been my heat detection partner at the ranch. I love riding these guys but as Ted says "She's not much of a bronc rider". I've been bucked off both of them this week.... oh the joy of riding young horses. I rode JJ out tonight to check cows for the first time alone. He did great walking through the creek and up over the chalk cliffs. It's a big pasture and takes one rider over an hour to check the whole thing at a trot. It's such a valuable thing to be able to do with these colts and I'm taking advantage of each opportunity to expose them to ranch work. It sure beats loping circles everyday to get them broke.
















Half Moon and Teepee (taking a snooze)







Smokey







Half Moon








Lacey








Singlefoot (double band stallion)




















Wind Canyon II









Guitar is getting big! Look at that butt!





Monday, June 21, 2010

Meet Gary

Today's adventures started early at the ranch as I helped Ted and Kay bring in all the cows we are to AI (artificially inseminate). It was a big pasture and it took the 3 of us 2 hours to check all the nooks and crannies of the hill sides. After finishing up I headed to the park to search for Gary. The nose bots are so bad that these horses will stand up against the gumbo and stick their noses in the cracks so the flys cannot bother them. Below is Blondie, Gary, Goblin (Ghost's foal from last year), Ghost, Dancer (Twister's foal), and Twister. There is one more mare in this group called Rosie and I could not find her today. She may have been off with a new foal or stolen by another stallion. I searched for 2 hours and finally decided to hike back to the truck. I kept an eye out but didn't see her. Hopefully she will turn up tomorrow.

Blondie and Ghost.

Goblin taking off to get away from the flies.







On the move....










My first Prickly Pear bloom of the year!!!






Twister's filly, Dancer. What a cute little roan!














Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dark Day

It's pretty gloomy out today. We got a half an inch of rain at the ranch last night and there been plenty more since then. Lightning has cut my day short.... The project is going well and it's hard to believe I've been here for a month already. A little more on what we do--> Our data collection consists of 6 different forms... We get evaluations on the mares weekly, observations daily (multiple times a day on bands with known heats) and new foal forms to name them and identify their markings. Our daily observations consist of 4 forms which include a spatial ( how close are all the horses to each other in the band) , a 20 minute activity pattern table where behavior is recorded every minute on the minute, an all occurrence table ( noting all reproductive behavior during observation), and a data sheet telling who is in the band, who is collecting data, time, weather, GPS coordinates etc. I am excited to see some of the results from the data so we can learn from the statistical analysis on behavior. This project will continue for 4 years to see how efficacious the vaccine is and if all goes as planned, the park will have half as many pregnancies next year. The herd has had a 30% population growth for the last few years which forced them to round up the horses every 3-4 years to cull part of the herd. This vaccine hopes to reduce that need, saving the park and ultimately the tax payers thousands of $$. I think this project has so much to offer to the equine/bovine industries and it's neat to be a part of the research.


The calves are getting big.






Can't see much from Buck Hill today.




Circus (black and white overo) and Georgia's Boy down at the Peaceful Valley Ranch interacting with the dude horses over the fence.




New Mama north of Lindbo Flats.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Party on the Bicourt


Today we must have had 40 horses on the Bicourt, a ridge on the north loop of the park. Embers, Copper, Sidekick, The Double Band, Mystery, Cocoa, Blaze and Brutus were all out posing for pictures. (I call the bands by their stallion) It's pretty amazing how they can all hang out together like this yet keep all their mares separate. I thought for sure we would see a few boxing matches between the boys but things were pretty peaceful. The Buffalo gnats came out late Sunday evening and I think they are hanging up here to keep the breeze on their faces and the pesky biting insects off. Al and I got many evals done for the week and walked among the horses. We both realized that many of these bands didn't let us get this close a month ago.....the horses are getting use to us and realize that we mean no harm. It's a wonderful feeling of trust. Here is a picture of Dove....what a great name for this sweet filly! She might roan out to look like Pale Lady - Very unique color.




Pretty Girl resting her chin on Lignite.



Lightning resting her chin on Crow and Singlefoot (one of the double band stallions) resting on Lightning. We mark this behavior down as a harem social...however I think the do this to avoid flys too.

















We call this mare Sweet Heart.....how appropriate:)
















Guess Who? It's little Guitar...my favorite colt sired by Sidekick and out of Ember's Girl. He's starting to roan out and what a handsome little guy he is.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Life at the Ranch

I suppose at some point I should talk more about the horse study and one of these days I will. I just have too many things to write about! If you enjoy the pictures that are here, please visit Marylu Weber's Blog at www.wildhorsesoftrnp.blogspot.com She and her husband Henry have started the Badlands Horse Registry and have been a key player in this project. You can read all about her dedication in following these horses over the years and see some of her amazing pictures. Her blog inspired me to create one of my own. The cabin at sunset.


Rainbow from the porch.






Mule Train .....I stopped to talk to these folks on my way to town. They were asking me for directions to Sentinel Butte. I hope my directions were right:) The West River Road goes 40 miles past the ranch to a small town called Galva -that's one big detour with a wagon.










Chickens!! Fresh eggs when you travel...what an idea! Some like to RV when they retire....others pack a mule train.......might be me someday:)





Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Stallions



While providing breakfast for the mosquitoes, I got some fantastic shots of some of the parks greatest stallions. These guys are so handsome and wonderful. How nice it was for them to let me get so close. Here to the right is mighty Embers... one of the oldest studs in the park.






Wind Canyon II is probably my favorite. His silver mane and tail are so neat along with his white patches on his side make him the most unique.




Foal by Wind Canyon II.












Cocoa telling Copper to take his mares and leave!











Little Cedar (3 year old) was in estrous this week. I think it was the first time she's been bred as she seemed very confused by what Thunder was doing. See video below.














Curious Cedar. Looks like a lot of TB influence in her.










Thunder Cloud. The only true blue roan stallion in the park.










videoCedar Telling Thunder , "NO, No NO!"

videoShe finally gives in enough for Thunder to take advantage of the opportunity to breed.
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